Amid Uncertainty, Burgerim Franchisees Form Association
As the viability of Burgerim’s franchise system remains in question, a group of operators today announced the formation of the Independent Association of Burgerim Franchisees “to unite their common resources to address the serious challenges to their brand, and to protect their franchisee investments.”
Working with the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers, a nonprofit trade group, the Burgerim franchisee association formed following reports of mismanagement and misappropriation of franchisee funds within the system, along with a host of other concerns, including the sudden departure of Oren Loni, the brand’s owner.
“The goal of IABIMF is to unite and unify Burgerim franchisees, engage common legal counsel and aggregate franchisee resources to take immediate steps to protect and preserve franchisee investment,” said Joey McCullough, interim chairman of the chapter steering committee in the announcement.
When Franchise Times first reported on the disparity between Burgerim’s unit sales and the number of restaurants actual getting open, it was noted the brand focused its efforts not on experienced operators but those with little or no restaurant experience. Tom Meiron, who was CEO at the time, even told FT in 2018: “If you have the $50,000 franchise fee and are willing to come on board, we’ll take a chance on you.”
In its announcement, Burgerim’s new franchisee association also noted its concern regarding “a large number of sold franchises that are not being developed, lack of franchisee support, large vendor kickbacks to the franchisor, and reports of company vendors and employees not being paid.”